Thursday, 28 July 2016

Opening KSL games previewed

Storm's Heather Knight
(C) Don Miles
The KSL kicks off this weekend with all six teams in action. With just five league games to be played by each team, and a place in the top three required to get to Finals Day at Chelmsford on Sunday 21st August, an opening win (preferably with a bonus point) will be most welcome. There are 2 points a for a win and 1 bonus point for the winning team if they can achieve 1.25 times the run rate of their opponents.

Saturday sees Yorkshire Diamonds taking on Loughborough Lightning, while on Sunday Southern Vipers host Surrey Stars, and Western Storm welcome Lancashire Thunder to Taunton. Below is a preview of the opening games. For all the teams, fixtures and news check out our dedicated KSL page, where we will continue to post news, reports on all KSL games, scorecard links and the ongoing league table.

Diamonds v Lightning
This could be one of the best games of the competition with the Lightning in good form with the bat in their warm-up games (Georgia Elwiss, Sophie Devine and Amy Jones in particular), and the Diamonds with a strong bowling contingent - Katherine Brunt, Shabnim Ismail, Jenny Gunn and Dani Hazell amongst them. But it is the batting that may be more of an issue for the Diamonds. They will rely heavily on Lauren Winfield, and Aussies Beth Mooney and Alex Blackwell. They will have to contend with the Lightning's attack led by Ellyse Perry, and new Saffer captain Dane van Niekerk. It will be a tough ask and I think the Lightning will edge this one, but without a bonus point.

Vipers' Suzie Bates
(C) Don Miles
Vipers v Stars
Vipers' Kiwi contingent - Suzie Bates, Sara McGlashan and Morna Nielsen, create a strong backbone to the Vipers' team, who probably start as tournament favourites. With Bates and McGlashan helped out in the top order by the experience of Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway they could post some imposing totals, but the flip side is that early wickets could put the pressure on some inexperienced lower order batsmen. The Stars build-up has been far from ideal with a host of injuries to players, including their key overseas signing, Meg Lanning. They have replaced her with seamer Lea Tahuhu, which leaves Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Marizanne Kapp to lead the batting. It is strong, but it is not very long. The Stars are going to need runs from the likes of Laura Marsh and Beth Morgan. I think the Vipers will make a winning start but with no bonus point.

Western Storm v Lancashire Thunder
The Thunder's fortunes could hang on how their two West Indian players - Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews, adapt to English conditions, both with bat and ball. They have both come straight over from domestic 50 over and T20 competitions in the Windies, and will have little time to settle in. That could open the door for the Storm in this opening encounter, but they will need one of their top five - Lizelle Lee, Rachel Priest, Stafanie Taylor (also from the Windies), Heather Knight or Fran Wilson to go big. Anya Shrubsole will lead the Storm's bowling attack with Davies and Hennessy the other main seam options, and plenty of spin possibilities - Knight, Taylor, Dibble and Westbury. This competition is a massive opportunity for Thunder's Danni Wyatt to show what she can do with the bat, and Thunder's Kiwi skipper - Amy Satterthwaite is no slouch with the willow. Kate Cross leads the bowling attack, but confident left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone could turn games. Tough one to call, but maybe the Storm by a whisker.


1 comment:

  1. So far in the warm-up games it has mainly been home sides prevailing. I don't think any team will lose, or win, all their matches. I probably agree about the Vipers v. Stars and Storm v. Thunder match result predictions, no so sure about the Diamonds v. Lightning though. It will be very close, Lboro will probably have advantage at Haselgrave and could win there, with 3 home games they will probably progress. May not need to win this one and I think Yorks could edge it. They might need to, as their only other home game is against a strong Storm outfit and they face tough trips to Surrey, Vipers and Thunder. Right now, it's easier to call results based on home/away and order of fixtures/ confidence etc. - that shows how close the teams all are on paper!